Security is vital; the threat landscape has evolved beyond lone hackers or small groups breaching networks. Cyber crime is organised, it is big business and has spawned a huge underground economy. Attacks are often targeted, sophisticated and inherently malicious.
We understand and recognize that security is essential and that not everyone who wants to access a corporate network has good intentions, however, the doom mongering can be overwhelming. Security solution companies and channel partners could and should adopt a more positive approach to selling IT security. It is not an easy task and regular stories in the industry and by the media around high profile breaches tend to reinforce the fear and dread message in people’s minds. That said, selling security only on the merits of negativity seems counter-productive and unnecessary.
Security opens opportunities
IT security has changed the dynamics of the workplace. It is a crucial component to companies embracing mobile working and acknowledging the cost saving and productivity benefits it brings in allowing employees to do their job anytime, anywhere and on the right device for the task. With security solutions such as endpoint encryption, organisations can reap the benefits of mobile productivity whilst maintaining a secure position. Where security was once a barrier it is now at the forefront of digital transformation.
In the past security was seen at best as an expense on the balance sheet and at worst a business inhibitor. Security procedures were restrictive and applied in a coarse and blunt way with systems and processes becoming inflexible and locked down in an attempt to mitigate any breaches. Organisations shaped their business practices around what the security system permitted, stifling innovation and causing employees to feel frustrated at the restrictions that were preventing them interacting with customers and suppliers.
Much has changed in recent times and security is no longer viewed as a costly insurance policy but a business enabler. With the increasing popularity of online mobile commerce coupled with customer expectations to interact with organisations seamlessly, whether via smart phone, tablet or laptop, IT security has had to respond proactively to business needs and deliver a flexible and accessible environment that is also safe and secure.
Network activity provides insight
Modern security applications don’t just look for potential intruders on the organisation’s network they observe activity and this insight can help organisations prioritise future investment. Network monitoring systems can show where website visitors are located and what devices they are using. This insight is invaluable to business planning, for example, if a national company is seeing an increase in web traffic originating in Manchester rather than London and these visits are mainly via mobile devices, this information enables the company to adjust its sales and marketing strategy accordingly, based on real-time data.
Security is about visibility into the network and gaining insight into how resources are being used. By gaining a better understanding of what applications are used, by whom and when, the IT department can make informed decisions on future capacity planning. Additionally, by looking at what is actually happening on the network, IT managers can identify infrastructure that is no longer required. With this insight organisations can optimise and rationalise their IT estate while improving security and speeding up processes.
According to the latest forecast from Gartner, worldwide information security spending across all industries was due to grow by almost 4.7% to reach $75.4 billion in 2015. This presents an opportunity for organisations to direct their budget towards solutions that not only protect their valuable information and assets but also deliver the wider business-enabling benefits and insight that security solutions can bring.
It’s time to see IT security as a business growth strategy, not just a defensive technology tactic.